ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Felix Doubront limited Tampa Bay's sputtering offense to one hit over six innings and the Boston Red Sox rallied for a 7-5 victory that dealt another blow to the Rays' fading playoff hopes on Tuesday.
Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, James Loney, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ryan Lavarnway drove in runs for the Red Sox, who beat their AL East rivals for the second straight night, extending Tampa Bay's losing streak to four games and dropping the third-place Rays six games behind the division-leading New York Yankees.
Doubront (11-9) settled down after a shaky third inning when he loaded the bases on three walks before yielding a two-run single to Ben Zobrist and Evan Longoria's sacrifice fly. The left-hander walked five and struck out five, ending a stretch in which he went 0-5 over eight starts dating to late July.
The Red Sox, who have already been eliminated from playoff contention, scored a run in the fourth and two more in the fifth. They took the lead with an unearned run off Kyle Farnsworth (1-6) in the sixth, then tacked on three more in the seventh when Saltalamacchia had an RBI single and Lavarnway followed with a two-run double off Wade Davis.
The Rays lost for the seventh time in eight games despite four RBIs from Zobrist, who added a two-run single off Junichi Tazawa in the seventh to help Tampa Bay pull within 7-5. The runs were charged to Clayton Mortensen, who loaded the bases with two outs when he hit Carlos Pena with a pitch and walked the next two batters.
Andrew Bailey pitched the ninth for his fifth save, completing a three-hitter.
Doubront earned his first victory since July 18, when he beat the Chicago White Sox.
The left-hander walked Sean Rodriguez, Desmond Jennings and B.J. Upton to load the bases with one out in the third, then watched all of them score on Zobrist's first hit and Longoria's fly ball to left. He eventually got into a groove and retired 11 of his last 12 batters, limiting the Rays to a one-out walk in the fifth.
Tampa Bay starter Jeremy Hellickson allowed three runs and five hits in four-plus innings.Comment on this story
Loney singled in a run in the fourth, and the Red Sox chased Hellickson in the fifth when Jose Iglesias walked and Pedro Ciriaco and Ellsbury singled to begin the inning. Ellsbury's hit trimmed Tampa Bay's lead to 3-2 and Boston pulled even on Pedroia's sacrifice fly off Jake McGee.
Boston broke the tie on a throwing error by Rodriguez, filling in at third base for Longoria, who served as the designated hitter.
The Rays committed three errors for the second straight night. A year after finishing with a major league-low 73 errors, they have 109 with 14 games remaining.
NOTES: Longoria, who missed 85 games earlier this season due to a partially torn left hamstring, returned after sitting out Monday to rest his legs. Manager Joe Maddon said he may play in the field for the remainder of the four-game series. ... Boston bench coach Tim Bogar is scheduled to interview Wednesday for the open Houston managerial position. "I hope it works well for him," Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said. ... Red Sox RHP John Lackey (right elbow surgery) threw batting practice and is scheduled to pitch Sunday in an instructional league intrasquad game in Fort Myers.